Timico’s Olympic preparations – a trefor.net public service announcement

All sensible network operators around the world are completing their preparations for the London 2012 Olympics at the moment. And Timico is no exception; we and our strategic partners have been planning for the Olympics for some time and have taken a number of mitigating actions.

We’ve emailed all of our customers to give a summary of the likely impacts and the steps we’re taking to minimise problems. This blog expands on that email with some more details. You can also see what some of our strategic partners are doing to maintain their network integrity during the events. http://www.trefor.net/2012/04/18/olympic-readiness-of-fixed-and-mobile-networks/

How busy is the Timico network going to be?

The Olympics are undoubtedly going to create a massive amount of demand for bandwidth. Demand for internet access for streaming video and use of social networking is likely to be very high during the games, with some extreme peaks for the most popular events.

http://www.trefor.net/2011/11/11/2012-summer-of-sports-on-steroids-bbc-estimates-more-than-2x-football-world-cup-traffic-levels/

Many businesses are considering adding additional bandwidth themselves – not just so employees can spend all day streaming the Olympics on their desktops – but to ensure home-working users are able to access core systems and to maintain quality of VoIP and other critical business services.  We know from the Vancouver Olympics that 30% of businesses wish they had implemented flexible working for the Games. http://www.trefor.net/2012/03/15/im-just-a-big-kid-really-excited-about-the-olympics/

Because we’re a business ISP, our peak demand times on the network are normal business working hours. The usual ‘consumer’ peak in the evening is not a big concern for us; so much of the predicted Olympic bandwidth demand will largely pass our customers by. However there are some big events during the afternoon which will undoubtedly cause big surges in demand, which if left unchecked could affect business applications.

As part of our business expansion planning and in preparation for the Olympics, Timico has upgraded our core network from 1Gbps to 10Gbps. At the turn of the year we had just shy of 1,000Mbps capacity on our Ethernet access links into the BT Wholesale broadband access network, spread across eight circuits. Since then we’ve added 13% capacity based on the growth of our customer base and demand for bandwidth. In preparation for the Olympics we’re adding a further 220Mbps to ensure our business customers feel the minimum of impact for the duration of the games. So when the Games begin Timico will have added 35% additional bandwidth to our broadband access network capacity since the beginning of the year. Our network traffic management system, which utilises Deep Packet Inspection technology, will also be configured with extra protection for VoIP and business applications to maintain quality of service during peak demand periods.

Despite this mitigation there are likely to be some reductions in network throughput, with increases in latency at times, caused by the high levels of demand for 2G and 3G mobile broadband, ADSL and FTTC broadband, with some knock-on effects on core network Ethernet services. But we’re doing everything we can to minimise this.

What is Timico doing to deal with London-specific provisioning & repair issues?

Despite all the preparation by TfL and others, getting around London during the Games itself is likely to be a nightmare. Trains and tubes will be packed, roads will be grid-locked and hotels will be full. http://www.trefor.net/2012/02/02/if-you-havent-got-a-ticket-for-the-olympics-id-think-twice-about-going-anywhere-near-london-in-august-locog/

Related to this, all of our wholesale network partners including Openreach, BT Wholesale, O2, Vodafone, TalkTalk Business and Virgin Media Business are putting in place special measures which will affect provision and repair activity in London, starting now.  http://www.trefor.net/2012/04/18/olympic-readiness-of-fixed-and-mobile-networks/

Standard service delivery installation lead times during the Olympics remain unchanged with all of our service partners. However we expect that due to transport difficulties and some staff shortages, there are likely to be delays to new installations, upgrades and repair jobs in London for the duration of the games. Some exchanges in affected areas are also not accepting new orders during the Games.

Transport for London have identified an area of roads called the Olympic Route Network and have an initiative called ClearWay 2012, which prevents any utility companies digging on those roads. As a result some new services cannot be provided and repair work may be impeded between 1st July and 9th September on those identified routes.  Likewise there may be some backlog after the games.

Timico is providing additional staff and equipment in London during the games and are working with partners to be as responsive to faults as we can however there is a risk of delays outside of our control. Some of the measures we’re taking include:

  • We’ve increased stocks of engineering equipment in London which is being kept at our Redwood offices http://www.timico.co.uk/company/press/release80
  • We have an agreement with a motorcycle company who will be able to respond quickly during the Games to courier equipment rapidly to customer sites
  • We’ve been working with customers to plan for the Olympics and bring forward or delay installations of new Ethernet circuits
  • Review back-up and disaster recovery plans for customers who may be affected by staff not being able to reach the office
  • Review customer bandwidth for home-worker and satellite office networks

So we think we’ve got some sensible plans in place and we’re looking forward to celebrating a fantastic London 2012 Olympics. If you’d like to discuss our plans or your plans in more detail, please contact your account manager.

More information

There is loads more information about the Olympics and related issues on the Olympic page here http://www.trefor.net/olympics/

Published by Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of trefor.net, writer, poet, philosopherontap.com

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  1. Trefor Davies

2 Comments

  1. Would a direct interconnect with major broadcasters at a mutual data centre help to offset bandwidth usage and provide better quality streaming for customers?

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